This study evaluates the feasibility of a novel rumen membrane bioreactor (rumen MBR) to produce volatile fatty acids (VFA) from crop residues (i.e. lignocellulosic biomass). Rumen MBR can provide a sustainable route for VFA production by mimicking the digestive system of ruminant animals. Rumen fluid was inoculated in a reactor coupled with ultrafiltration (UF) membrane and fed with maize silage and concentrate feed at 60:40% (w/w). Continuous VFA production was achieved at an average daily yield of 438 mg VFA/g substrate. The most abundant VFA were acetic (40–80%) and propionic (10–40%) acids. The majority (73 ± 15%) of produced VFA was transferred through the UF membrane. Shifts in dominant rumen microbes were observed upon the transition from in vivo to in vitro environment and during reactor operation, however, stable VFA yield was maintained for 35 days, providing the first proof-of-concept of a viable rumen MBR.